Berkeley Lab

ATAP News, June 2016

Click here for back issues of ATAP News, and its predecessor, the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division’s intramural newsletter. You can also click here to join the mailing list; you will get a newsletter every two months, with occasional special issues.


Leemans_Wim_Headshot_2014_150_captioned ATAP recently received a great deal of most welcome news.

The Advanced Light Source Upgrade, a proposal to transform the now 20 year old facility into a diffraction-limited source of soft X-rays that will be at the forefront of performance and user service for another two decades, received a ringing endorsement from the Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee. Critical Decision Zero from the Department of Energy, which we may hope will come as early as a few months from now, would kick off the conceptual-design phase of an exciting project for ourselves and the Engineering and Advanced Light Source Divisions.

Two of our scientists have been selected for 2016 Early Career Research Program awards by the DOE Office of Science. ECRP is more than just a funding program, and in fact more than just an honor (even though fewer than 10% of applicants are selected); it is an affirmation that we have recruited creative young researchers into an environment where they can make discoveries and drive innovation. I invite you to read more about what Chad Mitchell and Jeroen van Tilborg intend to do, and what previous ECRP selectees Tengming Shen and Daniele Filippetto are accomplishing in their ongoing projects.

One of the ultimate tests in our field, a summation of all we do, is the commissioning of an accelerator, and at Fermilab, an LBNL-built RFQ linac accepted nearly 100% of the beam on the first attempt. This joint ATAP and Engineering achievement is something in which we can take pride, both for a difficult job well done and for what it means to Fermilab’s Proton Improvement Plan-II project and ultimately to discovery science by their users.

Congratulations are also due to André Anders, leader of the Plasma Applications Group in our Fusion Science & Ion Beam Technology Program, who has been recognized with the highest award of the Society of Vacuum Coaters.

Astonishing though it may seem, if the major facilities now being built or proposed give the expected length of state-of-the-art service, today’s schoolchildren could be among the users! Even those who don’t choose research as a way of life will inherit a world where an appreciation of science and engineering will be even more essential to an informed citizenry. Aware that it’s never too early to start working with them and their science teachers, ATAP volunteers, together with others throughout LBNL, have had a busy spring of reaching out to our colleagues of the future.

Finally, research isn’t the only thing that’s hot at this time of year, so read on for an article about how to keep yourself and those around you safe from heat-related stress this summer, whether at work, at home, or on vacation.


ALS_U_montage_600x334y Major accelerators are not built so much as rebuilt, better every time, as new ideas emerge and technology advancements make improvements possible. The Advanced Light Source — a synchrotron-light source at Berkeley Lab — exemplifies this principle. A host of upgrades over 20 years have greatly increased the quality and variety of photon beams provided to the users, as well as the short- and long-term dependability of a national user facility that serves more than 2000 scientists per year.

Now, to keep it at the forefront of performance and service for another 20 years, we stand ready with a proposal for a transformative project: “ALS-U.”

Beneath the prosaic name is an ambitious and rewarding project: to build the best possible light source of this type to serve these purposes; a machine that will be at the performance edge of not only existing but planned storage-ring-based light sources.

“The highest priority project at the Laboratory”
—LBNL Director Michael Witherell

In early June 2016, the Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (BESAC) voted unanimously to accept a subcommittee report praising ALS-U as an “absolutely central” element of their light-source portfolio, an element that is “ready to initiate construction.”

In the words of LBNL Director Michael Witherell, “ALS-U will be the highest priority project at the Laboratory,” one that will “ensure another 20+ years for ALS in the top rank of x-ray science.” The next step: preparing for Critical Decision Zero, the official statement of mission need, from the Department of Energy, whereupon a phase called conceptual design — progressing from the concept to how all aspects should be engineered and built — can begin.

We’ll have much more to say about ALS-U in future editions of this newsletter. Meanwhile:

For an overview of how ALS-U will become the leading facility of its kind, and what these improvements will mean for user science, see this article by David Robin, ATAP’s program head for ALS accelerator physics, on behalf of the ALS-U team.

A more technical overview of the envisioned machine is given by ATAP’s Christoph Steier et al., “Proposal for a Soft X-Ray Diffraction Limited Upgrade of the ALS,” in the Proceedings of the 2014 International Particle Accelerator Conference.


ATAP scientists Chad Mitchell of the Center for Beam Physics and Jeroen van Tilborg of BELLA Center are among LBNL’s five 2016 recipients of DOE Early Career Research Program Awards.

ECRP is one of the most sought-after opportunities that the DOE Office of Science makes available to the up-and-coming researcher. This year, 720 people applied nationwide, and only 51 awards were made. This prestigious Office of Science program is open to researchers at national laboratories, and nontenured but tenure-track assistant and associate professors, who have received the PhD within the last 10 years. ECRP awards cover salary and research expenses over a five-year period.

“We invest in promising young researchers early in their careers to support lifelong discovery science to fuel the nation’s innovation system,” We are proud of the accomplishments these young scientists already have made, and look forward to following their achievements in years to come.”
— Cherry Murray, Director, Office of Science

Mitchell and van Tilborg join two other ATAP researchers already in the program: Daniele Filippetto, a 2014 honoree whose work has resulted in a user instrument for ultrafast electron diffraction, and Tengming Shen, a 2012 winner from Fermilab who has since come to ATAP’s Superconducting Magnet Program to continue working on high-field applications of high-temperature superconductors.

The Need For—And Challenges Of—High-Current Proton and Ion Accelerators

Hadron (proton and ion) beams of high energy and intensity are crucial to many aspects of pure and applied research, including future accelerator-based neutrino experiments for high energy physics (as called for by the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel or “P5” Report), spallation neutron sources for materials science, and accelerator-driven nuclear energy production and waste transmutation. These multi-megawatt beams are challenging to produce and transport using standard accelerator designs.

In a circular accelerator, an intense bunch generates repulsive self-fields that shift the particle tunes, form a low-density beam halo, and cause emittance growth and particle loss. Beam losses not only reduce the beam intensity, but also cause radioactivation of objects within the beam tunnel. These “space charge” effects are nonlinear and can be highly disruptive. That’s where Chad Mitchell and his ECRP project come in.

Chad Mitchell
An accelerator physicist in ATAP’s Center for Beam Physics specializing in computer simulation of accelerators and beams, Mitchell plans to computationally study the several schemes that have been put forth to compensate for these nonlinear space-charge effects. His project complements and cooperates with efforts elsewhere that will evaluate these strategies through experiments such as Fermilab’s IOTA ring, and with ongoing modeling efforts.

The project, selected by the Office of High Energy Physics, will develop a modeling program to address the following questions: Can the proposed strategies for space charge compensation offer long-term stable accelerator operation at increased beam intensity with acceptable beam loss? Can they survive the differences between a perfectly designed machine and a real machine? Are there alternative strategies that can provide improved long-term stability and accelerator performance?

Answering these questions reliably requires a highly parallelized computational tool for long-term particle tracking, including self-consistent 3-D space charge and a number of additional capabilities. These requirements play to strengths of ATAP and LBNL, where another nonlinear and disruptive effect—the remarkable increases in computing power—has been a boon to accelerator modeling. The high-performance computer codes of BLAST, the Berkeley Lab Accelerator Simulation Toolkit, will be among the keys to Mitchell’s project, as will the state-of-the-art computing facilities at LBNL’s National Energy Research Supercomputing Center (NERSC).

Laser-Plasma Accelerators for Smaller, Cheaper Free-Electron Lasers

Free-electron lasers (FELs) are coming into their own as facilities for user science, but their size and cost are daunting, especially when the required output is in the x-ray region of the spectrum. There are only a handful of such FELs worldwide: each is miles long and cost hundreds of millions of dollars to develop. Access to these facilities is limited enough to constitute a bottleneck in the pipeline of scientific experiments that could take advantage of these capabilities. A smaller electron accelerator that reaches the required energy and other beam characteristics would revolutionize the next generation of FELs, especially x-ray FELs.

The laser-plasma accelerator—a technology that is progressing rapidly from proof of concept into early applications, and in which ATAP’s BELLA Center is a leader—generates ultrahigh accelerating gradients. (Thus far BELLA has achieved 4.2 GeV in a plasma structure several cm long, and has recently demonstrated “staging” or coupling of one LPA into another.) This lets researchers dream of a world where the electron accelerators that dominate the size of x-ray FEL facilities could be orders of magnitude smaller, with great cost reduction as well. The high-peak-power, coherent x-ray pulses could also be synchronized with ultrafast pulses at other wavelengths, from the terahertz regime to gamma rays, and with the laser itself, opening a wide variety of opportunities for novel experiments in the biological, chemical, and physical sciences.

Turning this dream into reality is one of the areas of emphasis at BELLA Center. Jeroen van Tilborg’s ECRP project, selected by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences, will develop technology to lay the foundations for a new generation of light sources. The ECRP support complements a $2.4 million grant received last year from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through its Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems (EPiQS) Initiative.


Above: LPA-driven FEL concept. Advantages include the hyperspectral nature of the source (electrons, X-rays, gamma rays, THz radiation, and laser beams could all be made available and synchronized); ultra-short e beam and output pulses (10 fs); intrinsically small timing jitter (few fs or less); high-peak-current e beams (kA); small facility footprint due to the compact accelerator; and flexibility in hardware layout because adding or modifying laser-driven radiation arms is relatively easy. Right: Jeroen van Tilborg is leader of experimental aspects of BELLA’s LPA FEL work. Jeroen van Tilborg
Jeroen van Tilborg

With strong involvement from Wim Leemans and Carl Schroeder, the ECRP and Moore Foundation projects pursue the realization of an LPA-driven FEL. Between the two projects, several key technologies will be implemented, such as the operation of stable high-quality LPAs with advanced targets; transport of LPA electron beams with recently-developed active plasma lenses; and electron-beam phase-space manipulation by decompression with a chicane so that the multiple-percent energy spread of an LPA beam is compatible with FELs.

“We want to develop these accelerators in such a way that accessing the light produced by these beams is much less expensive and can be performed in much smaller settings.”
— ATAP Division and BELLA Center Director Wim Leemans

Finally, using BELLA Center’s existing LPA, driven by an upgraded 70-terawatt laser, the project will build a compact FEL that provides coherent output in the soft X-ray regime (15-50 electron-volt photon energies). The output will be ultra-intense (1010-1011 photons per pulse), and the 10- to 20-femtosecond pulses will be capable of being synchronized to a hyperspectral array of secondary radiation from the FEL and the beams from the drive laser, enabling a wide array of pump-probe and other experiments.

The ultimate goal is a fraction of the size and cost of FELs based on conventional rf linacs, potentially opening nonlinear X-ray science to users at small- and mid-scale laboratories.

ATAP’s Existing ECRPs Make Progress Toward High-Leverage Benefit

Tengming Shen
Left: Tengming Shen came to ATAP’s Superconducting Magnet Program / Berkeley Center for Magnet Technology after being named to the ECRP in 2012 at Fermilab. His Office of High Energy Physics-selected work applies high-Tc superconductor to high-field magnets. Right: Daniele Filippetto is two years into his Office of Basic Energy Sciences-selected ECRP work on high-repetition-rate, ultrafast electron diffraction. He is shown here at the Advanced Photoinjector Experiment (APEX), testbed for an enabling technology for LCLS-II and also the source of electron beams for the ultrafast electron diffraction experiment, known as HiRES. Daniele_at_APEX_egun_150x180y
Daniele Filippetto

Developing Powerful Superconducting Magnets Using High-Tc Superconductors

Since the very beginning, the frontiers of magnet strength and performance have paced the development of particle accelerators. Today, high-field superconducting magnets are used in particle colliders, as well as in fusion energy devices and in spectrometers for medical imaging and advanced materials research. Thus far, virtually all of these superconducting magnets have been built from two niobium-based low-temperature superconducting materials: niobium-titanium (NbTi) and niobium-tin (Nb3Sn).

ATAP’s Tengming Shen and his team are working to transform high-Tc superconductors into practical magnet conductors in order to build a spectrum of powerful superconducting magnets impossible with NbTi and Nb3Sn.

One goal is to use these new materials to build a high-field accelerator dipole that is 2.5 times more powerful than the 8.3 T Nb-Ti LHC main dipole, by taking advantage of their excellent ability to carry high current amid high magnetic fields (up to 100 T at 4.2 K). The work, if successful, will likely also open new avenues to building magnets similar in power to NbTi and Nb3Sn magnets but operating at 20-50 K, potentially much cheaper to operate than NbTi and Nb3Sn magnets, which typically work at the liquid-helium temperatures of 1.8 or 4.2 K.

To effectively generate magnetic fields, practical superconductors need to carry a high engineering current density Je of 600 A/mm2. (Je=Ic/A: the critical current of the superconductor divided by the cross section of the composite superconducting wire) over long lengths. Shen and his collaborators have succeeded in understanding microstructures and mechanisms that control Ic in powder-in-tube superconducting wires of Bi-2212 (the only round-wire, high-temperature superconducting cuprate conductor) and the way these mechanisms depend on heat treatment and conductor design. This work has led to methods that consistently improve the Jeof the state-of-the-art Ag-sheathed Bi-2212 industrial wires from the previous 200-400 A/mm2 to >600 A/mm2 at 4.2 K and 20 T.

Since moving to LBNL in 2015, Shen has been working with the team of magnet engineers, a team he describes as “excellent,” in the ATAP Superconducting Magnet Program/Berkeley Center for Magnet Technology. They are building prototype magnets in an effort to remove another barrier against using Bi-2212: the mechanical strength needed to handle the tremendous electromagnetic stress in high-field magnets. Their design is based on a canted-cosine-theta technology being pursued at the Superconducting Magnet Program.

“The idea is to combine the stress management capability of the canted-cosine-theta dipole technology with the unprecedented capabilities of high-Tc materials. If we are successful, ours will be the world’s first accelerator magnets built using high-Tc superconductors,” Shen said.

HiRES UED: Technology for LCLS-II Becomes Research Instrument In Its Own Right

Intended as an R&D testbed for the injectors of the next generation of light sources, APEX, the Advanced Photo-injector Experiment, is also en route to becoming a user-science instrument in its own right through HiRES, the High Repetition-rate Electron Scattering apparatus for ultrafast electron diffraction. HiRES is the fruit of an ongoing Office of Basic Energy Sciences-selected ECRP project led by ATAP’s Daniele Filippetto, with a team that includes postdoctoral fellows Houjun Qian and Haider Rasool.

Taking advantage of the unique properties of the APEX electron beam, this innovative instrument will open up new opportunities for ultrafast structural dynamics studies. Initial experiments, expected to begin this spring, will focus on the ultrafast structural response of two-dimensional materials and stacks, with a wide variety of hoped-for applications to be explored. The benefits will help address one of the grand challenges in the understanding of materials: following the dynamics of atoms and molecules.

HiRES_concept_700x_518y As shown at left, HiRES is based on a pump-probe scheme and the joint use of finely synchronized electron and photon beams. A sample is excited by a laser pulse with a selected wavelength; then, after a specific delay time, a femtosecond-long electron bunch (typically 105 – 106 particles) interacts with a sample. The electrons have a short wavelength that senses the perturbed potential of the sample and draws an instantaneous picture (in the reciprocal space) on a downstream detector.

Combined information on the structure and dynamics of atoms and molecules in matter is essential to understanding the laws of nature at a level that lets us control them and mimic them in order to create new materials. This is the realm of sub-picosecond time scales and dimensions measured in angstroms, calling for instruments with unprecedented precision in the four dimensions. The goal of this project is an innovative tool for ultrafast science that will allow four-dimensional study of atomic and molecular dynamics. Filippetto is now working to improve the focus of the HiRES electron beam from microns to the nanometer scale, and to improve the timing from hundreds to tens of femtoseconds, boost the quality of the images and enabling the study of even faster processes at the atomic scale.

“The idea is to push things to see ever-more-complicated structures and to open the doors to all of the possible applications.”
—Daniele Filippetto

Combined with a high dose rate at the sample, this instrument could have great impact on many fields of science—unveiling the connections between structure and function of biological systems, enhancing our understanding of chemical and biochemical reactions, and following transformation pathways that could ultimately lead to more-efficient energy storage and cleaner energy production. It complements other ways of studying these tiny structures and ultrafast functions, including X-ray probes at LBNL’s Advanced Light Source, where HiRES and APEX are located.

To Learn More…

BELLA Center’s R&D on compact future light sources is described on the BELLA website, and a February 2016 news article gives further information on the Moore Foundation grant that additionally supports LPA-based FEL development.

Tengming Shen’s work on superconducting magnets at Fermilab was featured in this 2012 article in Symmetry Magazine.

Daniele Filippetto’s work on the HiRES ultrafast electron diffraction project is described in the February 2016 issue of the ATAP Newsletter and in an April 2016 article by Glenn Roberts, Jr., of LBNL Public Affairs. Journal of Physics B’s recent special issue on imaging the dynamic structure of matter includes a technical paper by Filippetto and Houjun Quan, “Design of a high-flux instrument for ultrafast electron diffraction and microscopy.”

You can find out more about these projects, and the ECRP program in general, at the DOE Early Career Research Program website.


Fermilab’s “Proton Improvement Plan” or PIP-II, a plan to overhaul their accelerator complex to produce high-intensity proton beams for the lab’s multiple experiments, had a noteworthy success recently when its radiofrequency quadrupole linac accepted nearly 100% of the input beam on the first attempt. ATAP and LBNL’s Engineering Division, longtime partners in advanced RFQs, designed and fabricated this unit.

LBNL has been collaborating with Fermilab on PIP-II since 2010, and among its major responsibilities was design and construction of a 162.5 MHz normal-conducting, continuous-beam (“CW”) RFQ. This RFQ accelerates 30 kV CW H- ions to 2.1 MeV, and will be used as the injector for the accelerator complex, which among other things will supply beams to the US LBNF (Long Baseline Neutrino Facility) project at Fermilab.

Radiofrequency quadrupole being loaded onto a truck

Friday, September 11: the LBNL RFQ about to depart for Fermilab, where it became part of PIP-II, centerpiece of their plans for high-energy and nuclear physics research. The end view of the RFQ shows the intricately shaped structures inside these linacs.


RFQs are a particular area of expertise in ATAP and the Engineering Division; together we have been designing and building RFQs for some 35 years, longer than any US institution. In 2014 we delivered an RFQ of demanding specifications for the Institute of Modern Physics in Lanzhou, China. It achieved 10 milliamperes of proton current in CW operation at an energy of 2.1 MeV. The PIP-II RFQ is of similar design, leveraging this R&D investment.

The PIP-II RFQ team: left to right, LBNL engineers Andrew Lambert and Matt Hoff, lead engineer Steve Virostek; ATAP physicists
John Staples, Derun Li (principal investigator), and Tianhuan Luo; Fermilab engineer James Steimel, our technical contact there;
and LBNL engineer Allan DeMello.

To Learn More…

Click here for a Fermilab news article on the achievement. Learn more about the PIP-II RFQ, and about unit of similar design built for IMP Lanzhou, in previous issues of the ATAP Newsletter. Also available is a Fermilab video about the RFQ and its place in PIP-II.


AndreAnders2009 André Anders, leader of the Plasma Applications Group in ATAP’s Fusion Sciences & Ion Beam Technology Program, has received the 2016 Nathaniel H. Sugerman Memorial Award, the highest honor of the Society of Vacuum Coaters. Anders is a previous winner of the SVC’s Mentor Award.

The Sugerman Award was presented at the SVC’s annual TechCon on Monday, May 9. For a story about André’s career and accomplishments, see Page 4 of the 2016 TechCon program.


A Busy Spring for Outreach and Education Activities

Ireichel_Dinner2016_700x453y Left: ATAP Outreach and Diversity Coordinator Ina Reichel explains an accelerator magnet to some science teachers and their prize students at the Oakland Unified School District’s annual “Dinner with a Scientist.” A booth at the Chabot Space and Science Center, where OUSD honored winners of its science fair; Nuclear Science Day for Scouts (right); and the Lab’s Daughters and Sons to Work Day were among the other recent outreach events.


Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) hosts several of the “Dinner with a Scientists” events every year. These events reward outstanding science teachers in the district and expose students to scientists. The program has grown to four events every year (usually in late April through May) with one for middle and high school and three for elementary school (4th and 5th grade). Scientists come from the 40-plus organizations that make up OUSD’s Science Partner Network; more than a third are from either Berkeley Lab or UC-Berkeley (as most of the other organizations only have a few scientists on staff).

Teachers are nominated by their principals and can bring two to three students‐not necessarily the A+ students, but ones who would be inspired by the event.

What’s “Dinner With a Scientist” Like?

Caleb Cheung, OUSD Director of Science and organizer of the event, jokingly describes the format as “career fair, meets prom, meets speed dating.” It is a semi-formal event hosted by the Oakland Zoo in their Snow Building. More than twenty tables each seat a scientist with two teachers and their students.

The scientists are asked to bring a hands-on activity and pictures to talk about their work. (There is time during the keynote address for the scientists to actually eat their dinner.) Over the course of the dinner, scientists change tables every 30 minutes such that each group of students and teachers gets to talk to three scientists. The tables are pre-assigned to expose the teachers and students to a variety of disciplines (i.e., a kid interested in biology won’t get three physicists in a row or vice versa).

The menu features things like “turbulent 530nm salad with various suspensions and emulsions”, “dihydrogen monoxide in two states with citrus accents”, “Oryxa sativa seeds & plant material”, “grilled Gallus gallus with Allium cepa & fungus” and “heat-treated cacao carbohydrate solids with ripened plant ovaries”.

It is a very enjoyable event that gives students a chance to interact with scientists. For scientists it is a lot of fun because usually the students are really interested in both the subject matter and what life as a scientist is like. Also while everyone arrives for the event there are animal encounters on the patio of the Snow building (participants can also visit the zoo for free that afternoon) and the keynote speaker often talks about something that is interesting to adults as well as children.

“Career fair, meets prom, meets speed dating”
— Caleb Cheung, Oakland Unified School District, on the format of “Dinner with a Scientist”

ATAP’s Ina Reichel is one of the Lab’s liasons to OUSD’s Science Partner Network and attended this year’s middle and high school event. She usually emails invitations to the event to Lab staff who might be interested.

To learn about this and other opportunities to inspire future scientists like these, contact Ina directly. For many events, you don’t need to be a scientist or engineer to participate. Behind our discoveries and innovations are thousands of people in dozens of trades and professions — come share what you find rewarding about what you do and where you do it.

Vehicle Access and Alternative Transportation Advisory Group Update

ParkingFlux_100x122y In the last issue we mentioned the Vehicle Access and Alternative Transportation Advisory Group (VAATAG), in which ATAP is represented by Stefano de Santis, and one of its most immediately important tasks—helping tackle the upcoming parking shortage. In the past two months the Advisory Group has developed four main proposals, which have been presented to a Focus Group, composed of 74 employees, for feedback and discussed with management.
  • Promoting biking to work, including direct shuttles from downtown Berkeley with extra bicycle racks (there will be a pilot project later this year), covered parking for bikes at the Lab, and an information campaign highlighting how commuting by bicycle on our admittedly daunting hillsides doesn’t necessarily involve strenuous physical activity. The bike-dedicated shuttle will have a separate arrival point, near the highest elevation at the Lab (Building 69), to facilitate cycling to all Lab areas.
  • Establishing a uniform telecommuting policy across divisions, and formulating a manual covering telecommuting practices, situations and job classifications when telecommuting should be allowed, as well as its effectiveness.
  • Two proposals aimed at incentivizing carpooling by allowing vehicles which display at least two parking permit tags to use preferential parking spaces. These parking spaces would be initially obtained by converting a portion of the Blue Triangle spaces in the cafeteria lot and would eventually expand to cover other Lab areas, after demand increases.

As a VAATAG member, Stefano desires to keep ATAP staff informed of any proposed policy changes, augmenting direct communication from the Laboratory Directorate, and invites you to contact him directly with your ideas or concerns regarding parking and commuting.

The parking crunch is already upon us, with 29 spaces permanently lost in the Bevatron lot as a new utility plant is installed for future scientific buildings (a plan that will ultimately cost 300 spaces), and the road to the “pit” parking lot temporarily closed in order to build a retaining wall. Parking is just one of the many reasons we should all be thinking about alternatives to driving to work in a single-passenger car every day.

Click here to go to and learn more about how our colleagues are avoiding the parking crunch and beating the commute.


heatstress_768x691ySummer’s here! How to beat the heat — and what to do if the heat starts beating you
Summer in Berkeley means many cold, foggy days interrupted suddenly by a heat wave. These rapid changes of temperature make it difficult for our bodies to adjust and can cause heat stress. If your work area is not air conditioned, or you need to do physical work or walk up hills between buildings on hot days, be aware of these issues. Summer brings family vacations as well — often to parts of the country with heat we’re unaccustomed to — and strenuous outdoor recreation and do-it-yourself activities. Here’s how to prevent, recognize, and respond to heat stress.

Mild Heat Stress

Mild heat stress discomfort is a signal to take action to reduce the stress before it becomes worse. Drink plenty of water, take a break from vigorous activity, and use fans or move to a cooler area if possible. If you experience mild heat stress discomfort frequently in your work area, contact Julie Zhu (the EH&S Health and Safety Representative for ATAP and the LBNL Heat Stress Subject Matter Expert) at 510-486-6871 (Office) or 510-309-4886 (Mobile) to request a hazard evaluation and advice.

More-Severe Conditions: Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke

Without the correct response, heat stress can progress to the more severe heat exhaustion and even heatstroke, which are life-threatening, 911-grade emergencies. Learn these warning signs and watch for them in yourself and those around you when the temperature starts climbing.

Heat Distress Symptoms Table

Other heat-related symptoms can include:

  • Heat cramp—a muscle cramp caused by loss of body salts and fluid during sweating.
  • Heat rash—a red cluster of pimples or small blisters. May appear on the neck, upper chest, in the groin, under the breasts and in elbow creases.

What To Do

If you observe the possible onset of heat exhaustion or heatstroke, you may save a life by taking action immediately:

  • 911 for emergency medical assistance.
  • Take steps to cool the victim (apply damp, cool towels or ice packs).
  • Stay with the victim until help arrives.

To Learn More…

For further information, see EH&S Manual Chapter 40 at or ask your Supervisor about taking the LBNL First Aid course, EHS0116.

The National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health have useful information on protecting against heat-related illness, including the tips in the poster shown at left.

The California Department of Industrial Relations has extensive resources on heat-related illness as well.

Julie Zhu, extension 6871 or by e-mail, is is the LBNL EH&S contact for expertise on the subject.